Digital landscaping

It’s about time I got the backscene for Isle Ornsay sorted. I had to wait for quite some time for a holiday on the Isle of Skye to take the photos in the actual location that the layout is set.

Whilst I was up there in May I took a series of several images of both the sky and various bits of landscape so that I could create a panorama in Photoshop. Here’s what I’m up to, it’s very much a work in progress at the moment with all sorts of dodgy joins and jagged lines, but it’ll get there in the end.


The image at the left hand end is the bay around Isle Ornsay harbour. This will sit behind the pier and represent the view off into the distance, with the mainland just visible. The black bar is actually going to be below ground level due to the shape of the baseboards, so this will be removed from the final print.

The gap between the area around the bay and the moorland is blocked by cliffs at the rear of the baseboard, likewise that to the right of the moorland on the backscene, so it can just be sky in these areas. 

As you’ll see there’s an area where the sky is obviously mirrored around 2/3 of the way along, strategic tree placement will hide this when it’s on the layout.

So far 33 images have fed into the production of this, but then it is 14 feet long…

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Its amazing what a lick of paint will do…

I seem to be getting back into the swing of this modelling lark! I’ve even been considering digging out the soldering iron and etched brass!

Another recent development has been the finishing off of the paint job on the station building. I was going for something along the lines of the old version of Beddgelert station on the Welsh Highland Railway – I’m quite pleased with the results considering it’s basically two Wills kits spliced together.

I’ve finished it using Revell green no. 39, which has a nice relatively utilitarian but smart feel about it. All other colours are either Citadel Colour (Games Workshop) or Vallejo paints to add details.

Once the paint had dried I added a coat of Mig ‘Dark Wash’ to weather down the finish. This is great stuff, it makes things look ‘used’ relatively easily. The instructions say to leave it for 15 minutes and then remove partly, but I only left it for 5 to reduce the effect.

After this I added some Mig weathering powders, Europe Dust to give the lightest hint of rust, and some black to represent soot around the chimneys.

What I wanted to portray here was the original building about 10 years after construction and, being in a salty windy and rainy environment, with a few signs of rust developing in just a small number of locations.

I think it looks quite at home at the end of the pier, and I’m pleased I made the decision to switch away from the mini-West Highland Line design that I was working on. This looks much more appropriate.

I took the photo above before the weathering, but it shows another thing I’ve done recently, altered the shape of the rear hill. This was bugging me after our trip to Skye as it wasn’t the right shape to match the real location. It’s a little ‘straight’ at present, but that’s what a saw will do for you… More on the geological re-modelling soon.

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Ardkinglas Railway – a plea for information

My interest has been piqued by a little known Scottish line, the Ardkinglas Railway. Descriptions of this line are few and far between, but essentially it seems to have been a 2′ gauge line that ran around the Ardkinglas estate in Argyllshire. It was situated at the western end of Glen Kinglas and ran along the west side of Loch Fyne to an artificial loch known locally as the Caspian Sea.

There are virtually no details of the loco, although that operated there, although it is recorded as being steam powered, and having pulled both passenger and goods stock.

Perhaps the reason details are hazy is that the line was removed around the early 1900s and sold. Apparently the loco went for scrap, but remnants of its boiler could be seen on the beach at Tayvallich on Loch Sween into the 1950s.

A little more information is available on the Ardkinglas Estate website here, and Wikipedia here.

If anyone has any more information on this little known line, do please leave a comment below.

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